Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Doom and Gloom: The 2009 Denver Broncos

For the Denver Broncos, 2008 proved to be a season of tantalizing highs and crushing lows. In the offseason, they put together a very solid draft, signing Eddie Royal, Ryan Clady, Ryan Torain, and Peyton Hillis, prompting Head Coach Mike Shanahan to guarantee a playoff berth. For a few weeks, it looked as though Mike would be right. The Broncos steamrolled Oakland, stole a game from San Diego, and out-dueled the Saints. Fans masked concern for the defense by pointing to the absolutely explosive offense captained by gunslinging QB Jay Cutler. But as the season progressed, the Broncos began to show holes. The offense suffered a rash of injuries at running back and the defense turned out to be one of the worst of all times. Even with all this, the Broncos needed only to win one of their last three games to make the playoffs. They of course failed miserably, getting crushed by the San Diego Chargers on national T.V.

This recent offseason has been both drama filled and distressing for Bronco fans. It began with the firing of Head Coach Mike Shanahan and the hiring of young Bill Belichek disciple Josh McDaniels, the man responsible for leading career benchwarming QB Matt Cassell to 11 wins and a lucrative contract. However, that contract was not with the Broncos. This led to the Cutlergate scandal and the unprecedented departure of one of the league’s brightest if most immature star young QBs to the Chicago Bears.

Not content with dismantling the Broncos 2008 offense, in April, McDaniels and company turned in one of the most controversial drafts in team history, eschewing popular first round defensive backs for Georgia RB Knowshon Moreno. This after signing not one, not two, but three running backs before the draft. This first round pick was so unconventional that the Washington Redskins, who drafted immediately after Denver, took literally about 30 seconds to draft Brian Orakpo, the man everyone thought Denver should have taken. I broke down the Broncos draft here, but in short, McDaniels and company picked six out of 10 guys for the offense and failed to address the obvious weakness at defensive line.

This team is imploding. Brandon Marshall’s recent antics coupled with injuries to the first and second string quarterbacks have caused oddsmakers to remove the first Broncos game from their books because no one will bet on the Broncos. Why such skepticism? There is a chance that for week one, this man will be throwing the ball.

So here is my prediction: What’s in store for the 2009 Denver Broncos.

Denver Broncos 2009 Schedule (home games in bold)


Sep 13



Sep 20



Sep 27



Oct 04



Oct 11



Oct 19





Nov 01



Nov 09



Nov 15



Nov 22



Nov 26



Dec 06



Dec 13



Dec 20



Dec 27



Jan 03


In a word: pain.

Week 1 - Denver @ CincinnatiL. A very average team, Cincinnati will be a good litmus test for the boys in blue and orange. The Bengals don’t do anything well but they don’t do anything poorly. I don’t expect the Bengals running attack to get anything going so we’ll find out how much Chad Ocho Cinco and Laveranues Coles have left in the tank. Even if Orton starts, I think he’ll have a difficult time.

Week 2 - Cleveland @ DenverW. On paper this should be Denver’s easiest game of the season—which is why I think they’ll have their hands full. Historically the Broncos have played way down to their competition. The Browns currently lack a starting QB, any running game, and their 2nd best receiver just got suspended for drunkenly running over a man. Denver pulls away in the fourth quarter.

Week 3 - Denver @ OaklandL. The Broncos should beat the Raiders handily. They always should. Yet year in, year out, the two teams end up splitting. With the murderers row of teams upcoming, this has all the makings for a trap game.

Week 4 - Dallas @ DenverL. The Cowboys are not who we think they are, they’re worse. But Denver’s defensive line will make Tony Romo look like the rockstar Jessica thought he was. Marion Barber seals the deal with 60 yards in the fourth quarter.

Week 5 - New England @ DenverL. I know Josh McDaniels is already scheming for this game but so is Bill Belichick. The master shows the student a few new tricks and shows the rest of the world just what happens when Tom Brady gets to set up shop in the pocket.

Week 6 - Denver @ San Diego L. Are there must win games in October? If you’re 1-4 and playing the eventual division winner, there are. Unfortunately, San Diego is better on offense, defense, and special teams. Even Norv Turner won’t give this one away.

Week 8 - Denver @ BaltimoreW. I know people will think I’m crazy for this but Baltimore overperformed last year and Denver has a history of winning at least one game as an underdog. The Ravens receiving core is bad. Their QB is green and their defense is getting long in the tooth. With Brian Dawkins as the 8th man in the box, Ravens QB Joe Flacco will have to air it out. But if there’s one thing Denver has, it’s a good secondary. Broncos seal it with an interception.

Week 9 - Pittsburgh @ DenverL. Really what is there to say? The Broncos failed to address their needs in this year’s draft while the Steelers are already drafting with an eye toward 2011. Steelers in a blowout.

Week 10 - Denver @ WashingtonL. After the teams Denver has played recently, the Redskins will seem like a college team. Too bad the Broncos aren’t even built to beat a college team. Clinton Portis wears the belt again.

Week 11 - San Diego @ DenverL. The Chargers know their window to win a Super Bowl is closing. They won’t leave the door open for an upset here.

Week 12 - New York Giants @ DenverL. As we sit here in August, I actually give the Broncos a fighting chance to keep this one close. Both teams have great offensive lines that are one man deep. A few key injuries can make either Kyle Orton or Eli Manning look very mortal. I expect the Broncos to drop a heartbreaker here.

Week 13 - Denver @ Kansas CityW. Even Elway feared Kansas City, and never more so than in December. These two teams have experienced so much turnover that it’s hard to say how it will go. Kansas City is building for the long term but I’m not sure it shows up just yet. A late field goal wins one for the Broncos.

Week 14 - Denver @ IndianapolisL. Orton will put up points here but Peyton Manning and Donald Brown show why the Colts always make the playoffs. Indy delivers an absolute beatdown.

Week 15 - Oakland @ DenverW. There’s a good chance Jeff Garcia starts in Denver for the Raiders, which is bad for the Broncos.

Week 16 - Denver @ PhiladelphiaL. Philly has this circled already as a win which means the Broncos have a chance. But McNabb is a surgeon with a bag of new tools. Ruthless efficient Philly football for 60 minutes.

Week 17 - Kansas City @ DenverW. This should be a game where both teams want to lose in order to get a higher draft pick. However, the Broncos traded this pick away so they’ll actually try to win. Yahoo.

You heard it here: 5-11.

1 comment:

GnightMoon said...

Certainly this sort of scenario could easily play out. But I see things going a little differently...